NEWPORT County gave the best response possible to defeat at Rochdale with a comfortable win over York City.

The Exiles had revenge on their mind heading into this one, the desire to put things right after the ‘drubbing’ (David Pipe’s word) at Spotlands mixed with the knowledge that the visitors broke Newport hearts last year.

However, the first battle between the Minstermen and the Exiles since last year’s FA Trophy Final at Wembley was never as competitive as that showdown under the arch, Newport always comfortable on Saturday in a one-sided affair.

The Exiles didn’t reach the dizzying heights of performance that Rochdale managed last weekend, but the manner and margin of victory was every bit as comfortable for Justin Edinburgh’s side.

Sometimes in the lower levels of English football playing the elements can be every bit as important as how you prepare for the opposition and that was very much the case on Saturday.

A torrential downpour saw the Rodney Parade pitch sodden, but York never looked comfortable and couldn’t rain or reign on County’s Parade.

The Exiles are quagmire specialists with years of practice and they were dominant for large spells, significantly throughout the first half where they were good value for their 2-0 advantage.

Boss Edinburgh revealed his team before the game and dropped four players, Danny Crow, Mike Flynn, skipper Pipe and Robbie Willmott all selection casualties from last weekend with Andrew Hughes a literal casualty. The manager also explained that those who had retained their starting berths had been lucky to do so, and he clearly succeeded in lighting a fire under side.

Those who came in – Tony James, Ryan Jackson, Billy Jones, Tom Naylor and Conor Washington – all shone and Newport did look more sure-footed with a return to the tried and trusted 5-3-2.

However, County also controlled the contest and looked defensively robust when Harry Worley’s injury meant they switched to 4-4-2, the score 1-0 at the time.

Far more important than the formation is the collective performance and Newport were a far cry from the shambles they were a week earlier.

This was the most control they’ve exerted in midfield all season, Lee Minshull and particularly Tom Naylor outstanding; more combative than their counterparts and better distributors to boot.

Jones and Jackson both stood out as well giving Newport more pace on the flanks and the nice balance was complemented by the forwards.

In terms of physicality, Chris Zebroski and Conor Washington are Newport’s most robust strikers and they complemented each other well, at times almost bullying York’s central defenders with close control and clever running complemented by strong shoulder charges and fine hold-up play. No wonder Washington was the sponsors’ man of the match; fans absolutely love the kind of all-action displays County’s forwards provided.

The Exiles could’ve gone ahead inside the first minute and were only denied by the woodwork, Adam Chapman the unlucky man after Zebroski fired the ball into his path at pace.

Washington also came close as Newport pressed, turning the ball agonizingly wide after Naylor’s rampage cut through York.

The contest swung decisively midway through the half, poor finishing by Josh Carson coupled with brilliant defending by Ismail Yakubu after Ashley Chambers’ cross prevented a certain goal and setting the stage for Newport’s opener.

Within 15 seconds of that chance County led, as Jackson tore down the right and crossed for Washington who turned and cut the ball back for Zebroski to poke home on the stretch.

It was a deserved advantage and one that they doubled before the break, Minshull collected after a fortuitous rebound off the referee – the only help he gave Newport all afternoon – and he fired home right-footed from just inside the area past the despairing Michael Ingham.

Only when Lenny Pidgeley was penalised for holding the ball too long did York get any true chance to trouble the scoresheet, but they blasted wide and didn’t test Pidgeley throughout a tepid second half.

Washington and Zebroski both did have chances, the former hitting the post and latter denied by the goalkeeper, but County did put gloss on the proceedings when Danny Crow had the freedom of Newport to finish from Robbie Willmott’s freekick, ensuring the Exiles travel to Home Park on Tuesday full of hope.

Newport County: (5-3-2): Pidgley, Jackson, Jones, James, Yakubu, Worley (Willmott, 45) Naylor, Minshull, Chapman (Flynn 79), Zebroski (Crow 86), Washington

Subs not used: Stephens, Pipe, Crow

York City: (4-3-3): Ingham, O’Neill, McGuirk, Parslow, Fyfield, Whitehouse, Montrose, Carson, Chambers (Bonham, 55) Jarvis 5 (Cresswell 79), Fletcher (Brobbel, 65)

Subs not used: Kettings, Smith, Clay, Puri